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Reflecting on the Course

I enrolled because my choices were limited. Only evening classes fit my schedule, and whatever my other choices were, they all sounded worse than a class about dreams.

I was sure I was missing out because of my schedule limitations. I was wrong.

I’m echoing the sentiments of most my fellow classmates here, but this class was the most enjoyable I’ve had at Queens. I loved the blog dynamic and the interaction that it provided between classmates. The readings were great; I wasn’t exactly excited to be reading Freud Jung & Co. at first, but because of the quality in the class, I ended up enjoying them immensely.

I’ve never taken a class where it was clear that all the students (and the professor) were enjoying themselves and the material, and were genuinely looking forward to what was next. I wish I could have taken every course with these classmates.

The only downside was that I found it very easy to become distracted from the blogs and commenting by other projects, but that’s more of a personal flaw than a flaw of the course.

This was far and away my favorite class at Queens, and I began to miss it the moment I left the classroom on the last night.

Paper Revision

My paper. Grr.

I know exactly what I want it to do, and I feel like it’s more or less there. I need to restructure it a bit, move a page that orients the reader closer to the beginning. I’m a bit stressed because I the more work I did, the further I was getting from my original focus, which I’m only arriving at on page 11. I’ll need to do a little tweaking to keep the continuity and keep it focused with more analysis. But for the most part it’s coming along. And it’s almost done!

Dream 13: Pond

From a friend.

I went back to my old elementary school where I worked. I saw the principal, and she told me to leave. I had to sneak around the hallways to find a friend that was teaching there. As I was sneaking, I saw a nasty coworker who told me about how she was in danger of losing her job. I realized that I better leave. I wandered down the corridors, but I couldn’t find the exits, everyone was pointing me in the wrong directions.

Finally, I go into a classroom that I was told was an exit. It turned out to be the ecology room with a fat man in it who apparently was the ecology teacher. When I went in, I stepped into a pond. The entire room was a pond. He yelled at me for standing in the pond. “You stepped in the wrong end of the pond. If you had stepped in the other end, it wouldn’t have been muddy.” Apparently, the other end of the pond was clear water and was the exit. I went and stood in the other end and then woke up.

Dream 12: Salt Water

From a friend.

I was standing in a bathroom with two friends. One friend said, “We have to start gargling salt water.” So we did, but it turned into clumps in my throat and I started gagging it up. But the friend told us we had to keep going. Suddenly we all went down a hill on sleds. There was a ramp, and everyone thought I was going to hit the ramp and fall off, but I went off of it and landed perfectly. My friends were impressed that I landed it. Then I woke up.

Dream 11: Another Baby Dream!

From a friend.

I was a nurse. A couple from another country (they spoke to me via a translator) came in. They were having a baby. There was a lot of panic as she was having the baby. It was difficult to figure out exactly what the story was, since there was a language barrier. We found out that the woman was unable to conceive. When they finally did, they were encouraged to terminate the pregnancy because the tests showed that the baby might have a terrible deformity.

The woman decides to carry on. But there are major complications as she prepares to give birth, and the doctors tell the husband that he has to choose between saving his wife or the baby. The husband and the wife tearfully conclude that they should give the baby the chance at life. The baby is born face down. I take the baby to the sink where the afterbirth is washed off. When I turn the baby over, the baby was shockingly deformed. The mother saw the baby, and died.

I woke up feeling miserable.

Dream 10: Bulb Syringe

A dream from a friend.

I was alone and I gave birth to a child that was covered in goo. I started yelling out to my doctor, “The goo is covering the baby’s nose and mouth!” No one was listening, so I began to wipe it away with my hands. But it was still all over the baby; it might have been oozing out of the baby. Finally, someone handed me a bulb syringe and I stuck it down the babies nose and throat. A lot of time had passed. I thought, “I don’t know how to use this; I’m probably sucking out the baby’s brain!”

It wasn’t working. Then, the baby turned blue slowly, from its toes up to its head, like blue mercury in a thermometer. Then I woke up.

Waking Life

The discussions in Waking Life that I was able to follow blew my mind. Particularly the one between the two people in bed, where they talk about the moments of brain activity after death being “long” enough to simulate an entire lifetime in a dream.

I also like the part when the anthropologist / scientist explained that evolution will happen at an accelerated rate. (My heart was a flutter when he predicted that the future in human evolution = the cylon, a la Battlestar Galactica. I forgot to mention that if I could lucid dream, I’d make be a cylon.)

I took issue with the angry red-faced inmate. Wouldn’t removing the eye-lids off of a torture victim as a means to ensure that the victim sees everything counterproductive? With no eye-lids to blink, wouldn’t the victim lose sight quickly? Minor point, but it sure tripped me up.

Lucid Dreaming

Every time I try to explain lucid dreaming to someone, one of two things happens. Either the person tells me, “Oh. Ok, yeah, I can do that.” Then I reply, “No, wait, it’s not just realizing you’re dreaming, it’s more than that.” And then they say, “Oh yeah I can change stuff in my dreams, I do it all the time. Like this one time…” Or they just look at me, dumbstruck, and I conclude that I did a really poor job of explaining.

I’d love to be able to lucid dream. I don’t want to put the hours in to train myself. No way. But I want the ability. I’d do all kinds of stuff. For instance, I’d dream that I have all these things that I have to do, my job would demand things of me, I’d have family things, weird appointments and all of that. I’d just be lying in my bed, and someone would come in and say, “Owls! Get out of bed! You have all this stuff that needs to get done and you have no time to waste just lying there!” And then I’d say, “Chill out, man. I think you’ll find that everything you just said is not really true. Now, please leave.” And they would, and then I’d go back to sleep. I’d wake up in my dream, and bang! I’d have coffee in my hand and a breakfast burrito, and someone would say, “Owls, we need you to play Nintendo all day.”

And so I would. If I could do the lucid dreaming.

Dali

The first Dali painting I ever saw was on the back of a matchbox. It was The Persistence of Time. The image of the melting clocks image is one I’ve never forgotten.

The first time I saw a Dali painting in the flesh was at the Met. It was Madonna; the one with the pink dots that looks abstract at first, but as you move further back a woman is visible holding a child, and if you move further back the two appear nestled in the hollow of an ear. The painting made my mind explode.

The condensation of shifting images, senseless, surreal scenes. I won’t say that these paintings make more sense to me after having taken this class, but viewing Dali’s work makes me feels as though I’m dreaming.

Victorian Theory

Although outdated and in some cases completely ludicrous, I was impressed with the Victorian Dream Theories we read. These theorists made more or less logical conclusions based on what they had to go on. Having nightmares? Did you eat that rarebit for dinner? 2+2=4.

I feel for them, a little. When we read these in class, we all got a laugh out their silly notions, having just learned all these fancy modern theories. I give these men credit for making logical (if not entirely soundly logical) conclusions about the nature and causes of dreaming. They got the ball rolling, and gave those that came after something to debunk, and something for us to laugh and wink at in class.

 

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